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Champions Online

Champions' Steel Crusade now live with new instances and more

Super-hero, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Champions Online

Champions Online's newest content update is now available. Steel Crusade finds Millennium City under attack by Mechanon, "a robot supervillain determined to eradicate all organic life." The drop includes three new instances, a new mission hub (the United Nations Tribunal on International Law space station), and a Reawakened Automaton Archetype.

[Source: Perfect World press release]

The first chunk of Champions Online's Steel Crusade is live

Super-hero, Business Models, Classes, Game Mechanics, Lore, Patches, Endgame, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Champions Online

Champs
As we previewed back in August, the first leg of Champions Online's Steel Crusade update went live last week. Your task in the update? Stop people from spontaneously bursting into flames. No, really.
The Steel Crusade update begins in Millennium City, where things are really heating up as citizens are spontaneously bursting into flame. With the help of Professor Silverback, you'll need to help save citizens by shrinking down to microscopic size to enter the human brain and investigate the cause of the malady.
The update introduces a new archetype for max level characters (Reawakened Automaton), new missions to combat Mechanon, and yeah, a new lockbox with a chance at new costumes and a vehicle.

The second and final part of the update launches this Thursday with a "space-station showdown."

Champions Online brings the Steel Crusade on September 4th

Super-hero, Classes, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Champions Online, Subscription

Punchy!
If you've been sitting around in Champions Online and cooling your cape for a while, you'll be happy to know that a new update is dropping in September, and it's a big one. Partly because players will be facing off against Mechanon, and he's pretty large to begin with. But it's also an update that introduces several new areas, a new mission arc, and a new experience for players who have hit the level cap and want something new to do.

Steel Crusade is a two-part update that starts with players finding people bursting into flames across Millennium City in an adventure that leads inside the bodies of the victims to identify the source of this affliction. Ultimately, the arc culminates in a direct attack on Mechanon's orbital station... followed by an anniversary event that pits players against Mechanon himself in a world boss encounter. It also introduces something that City of Heroes veterans will find familiar in the form of the Reawakened Automaton: a new archetype available to experienced players with unique perks.

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One Shots: Agents of S.W.O.R.D.

Screenshots, Star Wars Galaxies, One Shots, Champions Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, RIFT, Miscellaneous

CO
Ugh, every time I see a great Champions Online screenshot I lament to the universe how such a good-looking game flopped so hard. Shouldn't have been that way. Or maybe it's not; maybe it's the best-kept secret in MMOs and I don't know it.

Reader Sean sent in this picture of his team, the Agents of SWORD: "I used to play quite a bit of this game from closed beta through about four months after launch. Before the dark times. Before the patches. At any rate, I loved this game with a deep passion--mostly because the costume designer was near limitless. But then I was also able to run the game at max settings at 1920x1080 and it was glorious."

We have more gloriosity (go with it) for your starved eyes after the break!

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The Daily Grind: Is there an MMO you're too wary to play?

Super-hero, City of Heroes, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, Champions Online, Miscellaneous

Champs Online
Ever since City of Heroes was abruptly and unjustly sunsetted, I've toyed with the idea of giving Champions Online another spin. It can never be everything City of Heroes was to me, but it has a lot of the same ideas behind it, and it's closer in spirit and gameplay to my beloved CoH than the admittedly few other superhero options on the table.

But Champions Online has been so spottily supported by its developers over the last few years that I have a nagging suspicion I'd just be wasting my time, that the game is locked into a cycle of decay that will only frustrate me in the long run if I invest too much time, money, or emotion into it. And that's enough to keep me away.

How about you -- is there an MMO you'd like to play but that just makes you too wary to actually jump back in? What specifically is holding you back?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Game Archaeologist: The danger of expecting lightning to strike twice

City of Heroes, Opinion, Champions Online, The Game Archaeologist, Miscellaneous, Camelot Unchained, Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

It's no secret that many of the more successful Kickstarter projects over the past few years have heavily capitalized on player nostalgia, brand names, and former dev gods who are back for another round. The formula for drawing in the big bucks seems to be the following: Take something players hugely loved back in the day, dangle the concept of a sequel (spiritual or otherwise), and promise some measure of iterative improvement.

I once wrote about how we really can't go back again to recreate a particular game experience because it was usually a confluence of several factors that were related to where the industry was then and where you were then. I'm not saying that there isn't value to retro gaming, playing classic MMOs, or involving the past in future development! But there is a danger in how we as gamers become so beholden to our nostalgia that we dare lightning to strike twice -- and we're paying big bucks to see that happen.

But can we? Will it?

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One Shots: Up close and very personal

Screenshots, Culture, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, Champions Online, RIFT, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous

GW2
I am pleased as punch today because several of you took me up on the screenshot challenge to get an "up close and personal" picture of an enemy. Without stealth or a sniper scope, this is a very tricky proposition, but even so, three of you came out with the photographic proof.

First up is reader Wolfger, who escaped by the skin of his teeth in Guild Wars 2. "Here's a shot of Brewer Foster getting up in the face of one of the game's favorite loot piñatas, the champion boar in Queensdale. It catches the beast reeling from a blast as our hero is facing it down with a... slingshot?"

Mmm... anyone want a ham dinner? Either way, scoot closer to your monitor and prepare to have your eyeballs blown from the awesome images to come in this week's edition of One Shots!

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Champions Online hosts FoxbatCon in-game

Super-hero, Events (In-Game), News Items, Free-to-Play, Champions Online, Subscription

It's always nice to have an in-universe reason to dress up.
We're moving into the heart of convention season, when people move across the country to stand in lines and buy trinkets representing our favorite hobbies. So why not also pick up some trinkets in Champions Online to represent your character's favorite hobbies? It's time for FoxbatCon, the in-game event that celebrates the intensely campy 1960s television series focused around the roguish scamp known as Foxbat. After all, who wouldn't want to be surrounded by cosplayers inside of a superhero game?

The FoxbatCon event will run until April 11th, allowing players to pick up Foxbat Swag Bags from defeated villains full of convention-themed prizes. Players can also take part in missions (some of which will be introduced during the event) to earn Foxbat Creds, which can be redeemed for even more con swag. If you're eager to celebrate the camp value of an old (fictional) show, jump into the game now for the full experience.

[Thanks to matixzun for the tip!]

One Shots: To the rescue!

Screenshots, Culture, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, Mabinogi, Champions Online, Miscellaneous

spiral knights
There's nothing quite like the feeling of coming to the rescue of a friend, virtual or not. I've tried rescuing people in real life, but I've found that not every granny wants to be given a piggy-back ride across streets and not every depressed teen is waiting for a well-choreographed dance routine to turn his or her life around. I guess I'll take a cue from reader Mary, who found her inner hero in Spiral Knights.

"In McVillain to the Rescue, my buddy Astro has been hemmed in by baddies by our friend's freezy bomb during a particularly rough arena," Mary explained. "Toward the top right corner, I'm coming to save him, weapon charged and at the ready."

What other thrilling rescues lie ahead in this column? If nothing else, it'll be a rescue from boredom, so let us give you that emotional piggy-back ride you desperately need!

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One Shots: Granny Freedom

Screenshots, EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, Champions Online, Miscellaneous

champions online
It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a super-powered senior citizen with slight incontinence and a grappling hook!

Well, there's something you don't see every day.

Reader Dynatos brings this gripping image from Champions Online to our attention: "A superhero that has come back out of retirement, Granny Freedom grapples across Millennium City's skies on the lookout for both evil-doers and heroes who need a little help with their moral compass!"

She's also never late for Denny's early bird specials. So what other visual treats do we have in store for you whippersnappers this week? Oh, wouldn't you like to know!

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Perfect Ten: Game franchises that became MMOs

World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Final Fantasy XI, MMO Industry, Warhammer Online, Opinion, Ultima Online, Champions Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Final Fantasy XIV, Allods Online, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Neverwinter, The Elder Scrolls Online, Wizardry Online, Elite: Dangerous

Arena
Popular franchises have been known to jump between various entertainment media, from games to television to movies to comic books and even to pogs. We should not gasp in utter amazement that this is also the case with many of our beloved MMOs; we should nod sagely and accept the terrible truth.

There are several video game franchises that have culminated in -- or at least have taken a detour through -- the land of MMOs. For gamers who wanted more and especially did not want to see their journey end, an MMO continuation is a welcome answer that's usually hiding its own problems. But nevermind that; let's march down the halls of history and see the yearbook photos of these franchises when they were young!

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Champions Online's rampage revamp goes live

Super-hero, Patches, Free-to-Play, Champions Online

CO
Rampages are all the rage in Champions Online, as Cryptic has pushed live a patch to both revamp several old ones and add in a new rampage to the mix.

The revamped rampages include the UNTIL Sky Command, Gravitar, and the Lemurian Invasion, while the new one is called Fire and Ice. Rampages rotate every three days, offering players a different challenging experience and a shot at Justice gear and costume pieces.

With the patch, Champions Online also added in new private queues, a Magic Girl costume set, and the petal cloud aura. The latter two are available through the in-game store.

Perfect Ten: MMO features that were hyped but never delivered

World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, City of Heroes, EVE Online, Guild Wars, Warhammer Online, Opinion, Ultima Online, Vanguard, Humor, Champions Online, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

Octonauts
Developers like to talk a big game. It's expected, it's encouraged by all parties, and it's part of the fun. When a game or big expansion is coming up, the spokespeople for studios like to hop on stage, grab that mic, and start proselytizing for all they're worth. And while some promises come to fruition, others are various shades of white lies, and still others never come to be at all.

These are the features that studios would much rather you forget were mentioned in the first place, although this is the internet and the internet never forgets. Well, players who latch on to everything devs say as absolute truth never forget.

Sometimes things happen along the way in development. Studios run out of time to get in all of the features and have to prioritize which make the cut and which do not. Features end up not testing as well as hoped and the studio quietly drops them because the PR hit for the features not going in is much less than the disaster that they might cause. And some developers like to flap their gums and spout brainstorm ideas that send the actual programmers and designers back at the company into spasms of agony when they try to figure out how to make them work.

Today let's go through 10 features that were talked up but never delivered in MMOs!

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Massively exclusive: Champions Online gears up for a rampage

Super-hero, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Champions Online, Subscription

Hot stuff, baby, this evening.
Are you ready to go on a rampage in Champions Online? Good, because there's a big Rampage revamp on its way to the game that should provide players with a lot of new things to do. Three missions are getting a full redo with rewards and challenges tweaked, and a brand-new Rampage is being added to the game, giving veteran players a chance to group up and pit themselves against the toughest opponents Millennium City and points related has to offer.

The new Fire and Ice Rampage pits players against two villains originally designed by a player, and the title alone should give you some idea about what's coming. Meanwhile, the Gravitar, Lemurian Invasion, and Sky Carrier have been turned into proper Rampages with an updated set of items and costume pieces on offer. Check out the preview gallery, and click past the cut for all the details on this upcoming addition.

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One Shots: Gnometizers

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, Culture, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, The Secret World, Humor, Champions Online, Miscellaneous

As a former, fully recovered World of Warcraft player, I always welcome the colorful yet chunky images from Azeroth in my inbox. But reader Jon crossed a line when he decided to serve up, and I quote, "a delicious side of Gnome" in this particular picture.

I, and many like me, have been lifelong Gnomes and choose such avatars in-game to show solidarity and to deliver the comeuppance that "tallies" deserve. This screenshot is just a sad reminder that we are often portrayed as the butt of jokes and thoughtlessly killed every single day just to amuse those who had a stronger growth spurt than we.

Oh, how I do hope that Troll choked on his first bite of Gnome pie and suffered through explosive intestinal distress shortly thereafter. That's the only way they'll learn.

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